Writing is often thought of as a solitary activity. When you think of a writer, do you think of a person who sits at their desk until the early hours of the morning, the room only lit by the soft glow of their laptop? Sometimes, especially during events like NaNoWriMo, we do shut ourselves away from the world, but that isn’t always the case.
Contrary to popular belief, writers actually rely on each other quite a bit. Without the support, encouragement, and feedback that other writers provide, we probably wouldn’t get as far as we do. At the very least, we wouldn’t grow much as writers. Having someone to challenge us and show us where we can improve is crucial, otherwise our writing would always stay the same, and where’s the fun in that?
Having writer friends is important for a number of reasons, but in the end, it all comes down to three main benefits. What are they, you ask? Read on to find out!
Writer Friends Help Us Brainstorm and Develop Ideas
You’ve gotten a new inkling for a story, and you’re super excited. The door has been opened on an entirely new realm of possibilities, and you can’t wait to start working on your latest project! The problem is… well, there are a lot of things you need to plan out first. What do your characters look like? Where and when does it take place? Who is the villain? And so on and so forth.
Writer friends can play a vital role in this first part of the writing process. They offer their thoughts to help you make decisions about characters, they share suggestions for your plot, and so much more. This is also true when you’re in the midst of writing – if you’ve put your characters in a sticky situation with no way out, writer friends can help you come up with creative solutions to fix the issue. Having other people to bounce ideas off of is incredibly helpful, which is why writer friends are so important to the brainstorming part of the writing process.
Writer Friends Provide Support and Encouragement
As writers, we’ve all been in the Pit of Despair – no shame in admitting it, we’ve all experienced those low moments when we feel like our plot isn’t going anywhere, our characters are like soggy cardboard, and we’ve lost all motivation to get out of our chair, let alone finish our novel. That’s where the writer friends come in – when we’re in the Pit of Despair, they can help pull us out.
Now, sometimes encouragement comes off as empty, but strangely, that doesn’t seem to be the case with writer friends. We know their encouragement comes from the heart because chances are, they’ve spent some time in the Pit of Despair too. They know what it’s like to hit a wall and lose all motivation, and because of that, their advice and support is often the most helpful.
Sometimes, fellow writers can also help us evaluate when it’s time to let a project go. I’m not saying you should give up when the going gets tough, but when a writing project is continually frustrating and isn’t bringing any joy to the writer, it might be time to take a break, either temporarily or permanently. Our writer friends can help us make those decisions – they give us a fresh perspective on what feels like old news to us.
Writer Friends Give Us Critical Feedback
So, you’ve finished that first draft and forced it through various revisions. You’re pretty proud of your work, and you think it’s ready for the outside world. But before you start emailing Simon & Schuster, your manuscript has one more test to go through. That’s right, it’s time for your writer friends to take a look.
Fellow writers offer a type of feedback that is hard to get from others. They tend to be more consciously aware of things like story structure, character development, themes, etc. and because of that, they’ll notice these elements (and their flaws) in your manuscript. Plus, their fresh eyes might pick up on things you missed during your various edits. Thought it can be painful to sometimes see your hard work ripped apart, you can take comfort in knowing that your friends have your best interests at heart, and they want to see you succeed too.
I personally have benefited from having a strong community of writer friends to help me, and I can never thank them enough for all they’ve done to assist me with my writing, whether it be a horribly written scene or a new blog post. If you don’t have any writer friends, what are you waiting for? Go out and find some! We’re not too hard to find – just look for someone furiously tapping away at a keyboard like their life is depending on it.